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Negative nice values are reserved for system work. If you run a userland program with to high niceness, like -15, some kernel work that it relies on cannot run, so that the program stalls itself. The proper way to make your system usable again is to renice the other CPU hog to higher nice values. renice -n 5 otherpid


The sysvinit init.d scripts often use start-stop-daemon. You can modify them and add -N options to change the nice level of the daemons. Beside this, you can write your own script that renices the processes and call it in /etc/init.d/rc.local. There are also auto nice daemons (like AND) which can do this task automatically.


If the process priority (nice value) is low then it will not be interrupting a higher priority process. The reason you're seeing the low priority process still consuming a significant amount of CPU when the higher priority process is running is because the higher priority process is not that busy. Probably waiting on IO. Use chrt -i 0 to run the process at ...

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